Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Today’s Twitter Breach Reveals How It Is Often Used as Critical Infrastructure

Ryan Denham, WGLT:

Like many authoritative or official accounts, the @NWSLincolnIL account is verified—signified by that iconic blue check mark. It has over 17,000 followers.

Twitter temporarily restricted access to verified accounts Wednesday night following a large-scale and coordinated cryptocurrency hack. That unprecedented step came after the Twitter accounts of some of the richest and most famous people on the social media platform were attacked. The @NWSLincolnIL account itself was not hacked.

The @NWSLincolnIL account did not send any original tweets between 4:49 p.m. and 7:38 p.m., despite several severe weather watches and warnings being in effect. That included tornado watches and warnings in McLean County. Tornado sightings were reported between Gridley and Chenoa in northeastern McLean County, according to NWS storm reports.

Casey Newton, the Verge:

And that makes you wonder what contingencies the company has put into place in the event that it is someday taken over not by greedy Bitcoin con artists, but state-level actors or psychopaths. After today it is no longer unthinkable, if it ever truly was, that someone take over the account of a world leader and attempt to start a nuclear war. (A report on that subject from King’s College London came out just last week.)

Bruce Potter:

We need to re-examine the Clinton-era definition of critical infrastructure and recognize the role of new industries like social media as critical to modern society and safety. And then we need to find better ways to engage CI companies.

Earlier this year, two Twitter employees were allegedly bribed by the Saudi Arabian government to track dissidents. If humans are, indeed, the greatest security vulnerability within any company, Twitter needs to do far better. It did not ask to be a broadcast arm for weather services and world leaders, but that’s what it has become — and it is clear that it is unprepared for that reality.

Just a reminder that it is an election year in the United States during a pandemic, and one of the most powerful people in the world is an idiot who cannot stop tweeting.